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Dr Heaslip is an Associate Professor in the Department of Nursing Science at Bournemouth University. Her general research interests are in the field of vulnerability and vulnerable groups in society whose voices are not traditionally heard in the academic and professional discourse. In particular, she is interested in marginalised communities who experience inequity of opportunity in accessing health care and education. In 2019 she attended the national Woman of the year lunch which honours the most outstanding women from all over the UK in recognition of her work with diverse and unrepresented groups.

In regards to health, she has undertaken numerous research projects with Gypsy Roma Travellers, offenders and people living with mental health issues. With regards to education Dr Heaslip has led numerous research projects regarding diverse groups; co-leading the BU Fair Access Research project, research with care leavers, fair access students and white working class boys.

Externally, Dr Heaslip has worked on National groups such as; Student Nursing Times Awards, Supporting Professionalism in Admissions National Expert Think Tank, Mary Seacole Awards as well as Department of Health and regional groups on Values Based Recruitment.


Dr Heaslip’s research interests are in the fields of promoting health, well-being and health access in individuals from vulnerable or marginalised communities. She welcomes interest from potential PhD students who are interested in this area of research.

Current and recent research includes;

• Principal Investigator of a research project funded by Burdett Trust (2020 - 2021); this research will co-produce a technological solution to support rough sleepers to self-care by locating and accessing services.

• Working in the COLAB consortium; a research project led by the University of Stavanger and funded by the EU MCA RISE programme. This research aims to improve collaborations between criminal justice and welfare services (2017 - 2021). I am currently leading a systematic review exploring experiences of vulnerability of adult male prisoners.

• Led the qualitative research component on a NIHR funded RCT: Does early mobilisation after ankle fracture enhance recovery? (ART 2015-2019) exploring participants experiences of the control and experimental components in the trial.

• Led the health evaluation in the Human Henge project funded by Heritage Lottery (2016 -18). This research investigated the impact of immersive experiences of prehistoric landscapes on the well-being of participants with mental health issues

Journal Articles





Internet Publications


  • Heaslip, V.A., 2015. Experience of vulnerability from a gypsy/travelling perspective: a phenomemological study. PhD Thesis. Bournemouth University, School of Health and Social Care.
  • Heaslip, V., 2007. An Exploration into the Experience of Non-Traditional Students Within a Nursing Pre-Registration Diploma Programme. Master's Thesis. Bournemouth University; Health and Social Care.


PhD Students

  • Porsotham Leal. An Auto ethnography exploring what it is like for health and social care professionals removed from practice by their respective regulatory bodies and how rehabilitation is attempted.
  • Elizabeth Gauntlett, 2019. The Experience of Academic Resilience in Low-income Students of Higher Education
  • Deborah Slate, 2018. “Nothing about us without us”. Do people who have an acquired communication disability think they are able to influence decisions about the design of healthcare services?
  • John Tarrant. Behind closed doors The lived experience of caring for people during their perioperative journey.
  • Laura Campbell. Changing Spaces; the impact of background on the experience of students from low participation neighbourhoods in a post 92 institution
  • Raksha Thapa. Discrimination by caste and access to health services in Nepal
  • Ogochukwu Ijezie. Exploration of the Quality of Life of People with Down Syndrome in Nigeria
  • Ian Attard. Communication as Education: A pedagogic experiment amidst cultural contradictions between curricular priorities and teaching practice
  • Sarah Chessell. Development of an intervention to improve the quality of patient care through leadership, culture and communication
  • Samita Wilson. Right to be heard: Minority children’s lived experiences of Child Welfare Services in Norway
  • Eden Begna. Motherhood in Prison: The Case of Ethiopia

Profile of Teaching PG

  • MSc Public Health - Dissertation Unit. I regularly supervise students in this dissertation unit linked to my expertise in marginalised communities and difficulties in health access

Profile of Teaching UG

  • Fundamental Communication Skills
  • Developing Knowledge for Professional Practice
  • Identifying Knowledge for Professional Practice
  • Evaluating Knowledge for Professional Pactice

Invited Lectures

  • Gypsy Roma Travellers & Maori: same but different, Oxford Brooks University, 16 Jun 2017 more
  • Inspiring Women, inspiring women, London School of Economics, 17 Jan 2017 more
  • Careers in Health and Social Care, Royal Bournemouth and Christchurch Hospitals NHS, 17 Jan 2017 more
  • My Journey: Exploration of hidden voices, John Radcliff Hospital, 19 Oct 2015 more
  • Mutual Vulnerability, Royal College of Nursing, 30 Apr 2012 more


  • People who sleep in the open air have complex needs. This co-produced technological solution will support rough sleepers to self-care by locating and accessing services. (Burdett Trust for Nursing, 02 Mar 2020). Awarded
  • European Commission H2020 MSCA RISE, CO-LAB: Improving Collaborative practice between correctional and mental health services (RISE) (European Commission H2020, 30 Apr 2017). In Progress
  • Supporting Educational Attainment, Progression and Aspiration of young white disadvantaged males: an action research project (Fair Access Funding, 31 Jan 2017). In Progress
  • Towards addressing health inequalities or marginalised communities; using Gypsy Roma Travellers as the model (Florence Nightingale Foundation, 31 Jan 2017). In Progress
  • Human Henge: historic landscapes and mental health at Stonehenge (Heritage Lottery Fund, 09 Aug 2016). In Progress
  • My voice, my story: the lived experience of being a non-traditional student at university (ESRC Festival of Social Science, 30 Jun 2016). Completed
  • NIHR Ankle Fracture: Does early mobilisation after ankle fracture enhance recovery? (NIHR, 01 Apr 2016). In Progress
  • Maintaining and expanding widening participation in health education in times of austerity (Co- Funded BU Fair Access and Edge Hill, 01 Mar 2016). In Progress
  • Enhancing BU’s outreach information for Care Leavers (Fair Access Funding, 29 Feb 2016). In Progress
  • NIHR Ankle Fracture: Does early mobilisation after Ankle fracture enhance Recovery? (National Institute of Health and Medical Research, 01 May 2015). In Progress
  • Evaluation of the role of Service Users and Carers in Value Based Recruitment (Health Education Wessex, 29 Apr 2015). Awarded
  • BU Fair Access Research Project (Funded by BU, 01 Mar 2015). In Progress
  • Enhancing HSC’s outreach information: appealing to students from diverse backgrounds (BU Fair Access Funded Project, 02 Jun 2014). Completed
  • Experiences of Fair Access students perceptions regarding HE and why BU in particular attracted them (Fair Access Funding - BU, 25 May 2014). Completed
  • Dementia Awareness Course (Royal Bournemouth Hospital, 01 May 2013). Completed
  • Dementia programme (Gracewell Health Care, 16 Jan 2013). Completed
  • Joint Masters Positive about Dementia (POSADEM) (Erasmus, 01 Jan 2013). In Progress
  • Review of HEDN Curriculum for Dementia Education (CDE) (HEDN, 01 Jan 2012). Completed
  • PDU Accreditation - Colten care (fernhill and The Aldbury (Colten Care LTD, 01 Oct 2011). Completed
  • Exploratory Study examining the Impact of Hypoglycaemia on the Quality of Life of Individuals with Type 2 Diabetes; and the Impact on their Families and Carers. (Novartis Pharmaceuticals UK, 01 Jan 2009). Completed
  • Exploratory Study examining the Impact of Hypoglycaemia on the Quality of Life of Individuals with Type 2 Diabetes; and the Impact on their Families and Carers. (Novartis Pharmaceuticals UK, 01 Jan 2009). Completed

External Responsibilities

  • Sunderland Universitty, External Examiner MSc Nursing (2017-2021)
  • Salford University, External Advisor Programme validation (2015-)
  • Mark Allan Group, Member of Editorial Board (2013-)
  • Edgehill University., External Examiner FdSc/BSc (Hons) Vulnerable Adult (2011-2015)
  • University of Hertfordshire, Interium Consultant MSc/BSc Nursing Programme (2010-)
  • University of Derby, External Examiner MSc/BSc (2008-2012)

Internal Responsibilities

  • Output Champion for UoA3,22/23, Faculty of Health and Social Sciences
  • Academic Lead for Admissions (Adult Nursing), Nursing Department
  • Widening Participation Lead - Faculty of Health and Social Science, FHSS
  • Lead for Learning and Assessing, Health and Social Care
  • F2 Programme Lead, Health and Social Care
  • Programme Lead DipHe in Nursing, Health and Social Care
  • Quality Assurance and Enhancement Group, Bournemouth University

Public Engagement & Outreach Activities

  • Professor Debbie and Holley and Dr Vanessa Heaslip Presented written evidence to this committee that was published available at
  • Presented the Human Henge project exploring the impact of heritage upon wellbeing and mental health
  • Presented the Human Henge project at the Salisbury Festival of Archaeology
  • Co-ordinated and participated in the FHSS 'Pop-up hospital' to give thr local comunity an insight into the world of healthcare
  • Presentation of the initial findings from the Human Henge research
  • Presented the Human Henge project
  • Asked to participate in an expert panel of diverse, successful women as part fo the Intersectional feminist society
  • My voice, my story: the lived experience of being a non-traditional student at university. This workshop enables audience immersion in multimedia stories co-created by students using novel social participatory research to elict lived experiences of being a non-traditional student at university by engaging in telling/re-telling of stories (Jones, 2015). We focus on students from non-traditional backgrounds because research shows how the lived experiences of these students are often marginalised by institutions (Hunt et al., forthcoming; Thomas, 2012). Photovoice is seen to be effective in capturing stories and sharing the lives of non-traditional students (Warne et al., 2012; Minthorn and Marsh, 2016).
  • Grassroot responses to regional educational challenges - We invite practitioners from different professional and academic backgrounds to discuss the current challenges and opportunities for promoting equity in education. We want to build a community of practice who can tackle specific regional challenges about who gets to access education. In this collective learning event we will work together to negotiate the question, “What are the challenges and opportunities for marginalised students to access education in the region?” Using participatory debate techniques, our student co-creators will facilitate small groups to share their expertise, identify solutions and sustainable ways of promoting equity in education. In harnessing the collective expertise of students, school leads, community educators, academics and widening participation (WP) practitioners from the region we will produce solutions and foster a community at a time of significant change and challenge for WP. We will appeal to our audience by creating a community of shared expertise and having a regional focus to tackle grassroots issues together. Attendees will engage with innovative debate formats, develop practical solutions to urgent challenges, reflect on existing practice and build a sense of community. This session is part of BU’s Fair Access Research project. Our practice-led research shapes new understandings and aligns with BU’s commitment to a fusion of research, education and professional practice.
  • POSADEM - developing a European PG programme about being positive about dementia

Conference Presentations

  • BERA (British Educational Research Association) Annual Conference, Whose life is it anyway? The role of digitally mediated life story and narrative in democratizing the discourses and practices of widening participation., 05 Sep 2017, Brighton

Consultancy Activities

  • Living Well with Dementia in a Residential Setting, Dementia Education. Gracewell Nursing Home Group, Vanessa Heaslip
  • Living Well with Dementia in a Residential Setting, Staff education and development around the needs of the person with dmentia. Colten Care, Vanessa Heaslip
  • Older Person Care Development Programme, Staff education and development around the needs of the older person. Royal Bournemouth and Christchurch Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust

Attended Training

  • Athena Programme for Inspiring Female Leaders in Higher Education, 31 Jan 2015


  • PhD in Social Sciences (Bournemouth University, 2015)
  • MA in Health and Social Care Education (Bournemouth University, 2008)
  • BSc (Hons) in Community Nursing: District Nursing (Southampton University, 2000)
  • DipHe in Adult Nursing (Bournemouth University, 1996)


  • Woman of the year - 2019 (Woman of the Year, 2019)
  • Travel Scolarship (Florence Nightingale Foundation, 2017)
  • Senior Fellow (Higher Education Academy, 2015)
  • Post Graduate Research Prize for unstinting commitment and dedication to the pursuit of higher knowledge concerning disadvantaged and marginalised groups (Bournemouth University, 2015)
  • Fellow (Higher Education Academy, 2009)
  • Registered Nurse (Nursing Midwifery Council, 1996)



  • Oxford Institute of Nursing, Midwifery & Allied Health Research (OxINMAHR)
  • Taupua Waiora Centre for Māori Health Research Auckland University of Technology, Auckland, New Zealand
  • Royal College of Nursing

External Media and Press

The data on this page was last updated at 04:57 on March 5, 2021.